What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Canny employees are no longer waiting for their annual performance reviews to ponder their future, according to Personnel Decisions International (PDI), a Minneapolis-based management and human resources consulting firm.

A recent PDI survey of 1,000 American employees found that workers are instead continuously assessing their career options and needs, constantly pondering their next move and seeking additional training, according to Susan Gebelein, executive vice-president at PDI.

“Particularly in the IT arena, where people are getting so many calls from headhunters, employees are now reviewing their career development and goals on a monthly or in some cases weekly basis,” Gebelein says.

And many companies are realizing they need to give their employees access to the development opportunities they crave. The PDI survey, done at the end of 1999, found that 74 per cent of employees surveyed reported their companies are helping them develop in their current roles and/or achieve career goals.

It’s particularly important for CIOs to be aware of the need for staff development, Gebelein says. “The constraints they have in their own function is that they often don’t have enough employees ready with the right skills when they need them, and then they have to scramble to find them,” she points out. “So they have to look seriously at managing talent, not just at recruiting.”

The survey found that employees most crave development in the areas of communications skills (30 per cent) and leadership skills (26 per cent).

Gebelein says that many employees report receiving training and development in these areas at their current jobs. “What employees define as a good boss is someone who takes a personal interest in their career and in them,” she says. “They don’t want the company to do everything for them in the way of development, but they are looking for the boss to orchestrate that growth or training. And if they don’t get it, they are willing to move on to find a boss who will.”